Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Wondrous Word Wednesday: Skipped Last Week Edition

Hosted by Bermuda Onion, the point of this meme is to share all the new words you came across this week. Yay!


Yeah I didn't do it last week. Oops. It's good, though, because I didn't really find anything this week, so... ok from three different books.

Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace as usual:

scrofulous -- morally degenerate; corrupt

As Tiny Ewell comes to see it, people with tattoos fall under two broad headings. First there are the younger scrofulous boneheaded black-T-shirt-and-spiked-bracelet types who do not have the sense to regret the impulsive permanency of their tatts...

gonfalon -- a banner suspended from a crosspiece, especially as a standard in an ecclesiastical procession or as the ensign of a medieval Italian republic

On Skull's back a half-m.-crag with THE DEAD in maroon on a vertical gonfalonish banner unfurling below...

frustum -- the portion of a solid — normally a cone or pyramid — which lies between two parallel planes cutting it

Hal puts one foot up on Pemulis's little frustum-shaped bedside stool and leans farther in.

glabrous -- smooth; having a surface without hairs or projections

...and for much of the glabrous part of his childhood Hal'd been classified as somewhere between 'Borderline Gifted' and 'Gifted'...

tumescence -- readiness for sexual activity marked especially by vascular congestion of the sex organs erotically circumscribed G. W. Pabst scholar at New York University tortured by the neurotic conviction that there are only a finite number of erections possible in the world at any one time and that his tumescence means e.g. the detumescence of some perhaps more deserving or tortured Third World sorghum farmer or something...

scopophobic -- fearful of being looked at or seen

asperity -- rigor; severity

Unwittingly all but authoring the Union designed to afford the scopophobic empathic fellowship and the genesis of sturdy inner resources through shame-free and unconstrained concealment, W. Churchill -- when the lady, no person's doormat, informed him with prim asperity that he appeared to be woefully inebriated -- made the anecdotally famous reply that while, yes, yea verily, he was indeed inebriated, he would the following A.M. be once again sober, while she, dear lady, would tomorrow still be hideously and improbably deformed.

Ok the next four are from Villette by Charlotte Brontë.

hebdomadal -- weekly

The classes were undergoing sweeping and purification by candlelight, according to hebdomadal custom...

phthisis -- any disease causing a wasting away of part or all of the body, especially tuberculosis; consumption

catarrh -- inflammation of a mucous membrane, esp. of the respiratory tract, accompanied by excessive secretions

...that dungeon under the leads, smelling of damp and mould, rank with phthisis and catarrh: a place you never ought to enter...

oppugnant -- opposing; antagonistic; contrary

He was much taken up with scientific interests; keen, intent, and somewhat oppugnant in what concerned his favourite pursuits...

And the last from Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay:

remora -- a suckerfish!

He was out there, feeding his Dark Passenger, and it was talking to mine. And in my sleep I had been riding with him, a phantom remora in his great slow circles.



  1. Wow, you found a lot of great words. I think I'll skip hebdomadal, though and stick with weekly. I'm curious about Infinite Jest after seeing the words from that book. Thanks for participating!

  2. I recall hearing 'tumescent' in "10 Things I Hate About You", during the brief appearance of the wonderful Allison Janney.

  3. Wow I had no clue what any of these words were!


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